I read with interest the article written by David Suzuki in the Dec. 12 edition of The Saanich News. I noted several exaggerations and untruths in what he writes.
The first one is his assertion that Canada ranks amongst the worst polluters of the atmosphere in the world. This is not true. It has been determined by scientists worldwide that Canada’s contribution to greenhouse gas levels is three per cent. The worst polluters are in fact the United States (26 per cent) China (40 per cent), India, Australia and numerous other countries.
If Canada ceased polluting the atmosphere altogether as of today, the net effect of that cessation would not be measurable until fifty years from now. On a world scale, this is almost insignificant.
Secondly, the statement by Mr Suzuki that bringing an oil pipeline on stream would significantly increase pollution is nonsense. Countries buying oil will only use as much as actually required, no more. The notion that Canadian oil would cause an increase in its use, and by inference create increased pollution by whoever should purchase it, is absurd.
Our oil would simply substitute for oil now purchased from other countries in the world; those countries would consequently sell less volume. The laws of supply and demand. World production and consumption of oil products would therefore remain unchanged. The difference is that the wealth generated by the sale of Canadian oil would now shift to benefit Canada.
Mr Suzuki makes no reference to the many beneficial products derived from oil. Clothing, appliances, chemicals, industrial and domestic products of all sorts depend on oil and it’s derivatives for their creation. Designing automobiles that use electricity instead of gasoline will also bring with it new and serious problems, including industrial waste and air pollution.
Electricity must be generated and the increased use of it will create increased pollution in areas where it is generated. No mention is made of other factors responsible for changes in our climate. Our sun’s radiated solar output is not constant.
Small variations in radiated solar energy over the centuries have significantly affected life on earth. Climate change is not a 21st century phenomenon – during the Middle Ages, there were periods of major climatic changes occurring on our planet in which human activities played no part. The onset and disappearance of the Ice Age is a demonstrated example of climate change. These changes occurred well before the industrial revolution.
The effects of human activities, as these affect the world’s climate, continues to be studied worldwide. Much additional scientific research needs to be done in order to determine the exact causes and effects of climate change. That increased world population is having an effect on our climate is not being disputed.